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red writing hood link-up — makeover

April 20, 2012

Oh, how I love a good makeover story.  I won’t bore you with my thoughts on the subject, as I already wrote about my love of makeovers here.  Let’s just say that I’m a sucker for stories of rebirth.

Today, in response to the Red Writing Hood prompt below, I’m bringing in the perspective of a character about whom I’ve been writing a lot lately.  She’s seventeen and desperate for the kind of makeover no curling iron can render.

It’s time for a change in outward appearance, be it a character, yourself, or someone in your life. In 500 words or less, write about a makeover of your choice (hair, clothes, makeup, facial hair for the menfolk), fictional or memoir/creative non-fiction. Let’s think about how physical appearance changes can affect the inner landscape.

Your feedback is welcome, as this character is central to a project on which I’m currently working.


“Hey, make me over.  Turn me inside out.” 

Make whatever blooms beneath my skin, what melts my bones to beams, make that the first thing a stranger sees.  Illuminate my heart, because I have known its goodness but no one else has.  Shine a light on the strength in the pit of my stomach.  Burn me, if you have to.  Please, just turn me inside out.

What’s layered on the outside wins me nothing.  I’m occluded.  My skin is too brown and my hair is too long.  No one has ever looked into my eyes and willed me beautiful.  My arms are too long and rope-skinny, with elbows sharp and bramble scars.  My face is all angles – a nose straight like a man’s (“The Crying Indian!” Martin used to screech after we watched that old anti-pollution advertisement in eighth grade Social Studies), and eyebrows like exclamation points.  The girls at school cast glances at my legs; I see them.  Talia said she’d give anything for long legs like mine, but she spat it like an insult.  That was the only time she’s ever talked to me.

“You could cut your hair,” my aunt Laura says gently when she thinks I’m upset, smoothing it away from my face.  “I’ll take you,” she touches her own perfect caramel waves, smiling weakly; “it’ll be fun.  What do you say?” 

I shake my heavy head, unwilling to tell her what I know is ridiculous:  I can’t cut my hair until somebody looks beneath it.  I can’t go about the business of repairing what looks wrong until someone – anyone – comes looking for what might already be right.

“Hey, make me over.  Turn me inside out.”

This is my prayer to the God I believe in, molder of the dirt.  My mother used to urge me to speak respectfully to God, but in her next breath she told me God knows everything.  Surely, I said, God appreciates my honesty.  God knows what I’m asking for, ever more impatiently.  God doesn’t want me sucking up, after all.

What would it look like, I wonder, if my prayer was answered?  If I were shown noble, excellent, or praiseworthy, my insides scrubbed shiny for the world to see, my skin’s brown barrier hidden, my true heart on display… what would that look like?

Today, I’ll knock my chest with my fist.  I’ll run faster than I know I can, buoyed by legs that stretch for miles.  I’ll search a cloudless sky for God’s morning star, begging, “God, make me over.  Turn me inside out.”


I hope today finds you filled with a bold new light.  Thanks, as always, for showing up.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2012 8:19 pm

    Oh, this almost reads like a poem. That last paragraph is stunning and full of emotion.

    I want to know more about this girl. Why she feels compelled to hide. What is she trying to shed?

    • April 21, 2012 8:10 am

      Nancy, thanks so much for your comment. I’ve been struggling a bit with finding this character’s voice, and I really appreciate your feedback. I promise there will be much more coming about her, and am glad that you were left wanting to know more. Thank you! Looking forward to visiting your blog this weekend.

  2. April 20, 2012 9:19 pm

    Your use of language is beautiful and poetic.
    As I began reading, I thought “Is this a riddle?”
    Then I realized that it is instead a wish… a wish for the beauty inside to be what is presented to the world instead of whatever is outside.

    Beautiful post.

    • April 21, 2012 8:09 am

      Amy Beth, I so appreciate your comment. I am really in the process of trying to find this character’s authentic voice, and your feedback is so helpful. Thank you, and I look forward to stopping by your blog this weekend!

  3. April 20, 2012 11:21 pm

    you showed her pain so eloquently, her desire to be accepted and loved and seen for who she truly is, not just what her superficial outside appearance is.

    Nicely done. I really enjoyed reading it. It did feel poetic in spots

    • April 21, 2012 8:07 am

      Thank you, Carrie. I so appreciate your comment and really am looking forward to stopping by your blog this weekend.

  4. April 20, 2012 11:29 pm

    This is a great piece! I can hear these thoughts, these wishes coming straight from the mind of any teenage girl. I like how you have her wanting people to see the inner beauty before she makes over the outer beauty.

    • April 21, 2012 8:05 am

      I’m so glad that the character’s thoughts felt authentic to you. I struggle a little with embodying a teenager now that I’m… not :). Thank you so much for your comment, and I look forward to stopping by your blog this weekend and reading what you are up to!

  5. April 20, 2012 11:46 pm

    I agree with Nancy and AmyBeth. This is piece if poetic. Your words flowed naturally with an easy rhythm.

    You write with a beautiful rawness that makes me sad when the I there is no more left to read.


    • April 21, 2012 8:04 am

      Thank you so much for your comment, Denise. I so appreciate your feedback, and look forward to swinging by and reading more of your writing, as well! Many thanks.

  6. April 21, 2012 2:48 am

    I was the only Native American in my school district. I had a real hard time passing for normal then. I used to overcompensate by chasing the kids around the school yard screaming I was going to scalp them. I was a mean child.

    Anyway, I love the imagery of this post. It is emotive and speaks to my truth if not the world. Truly lovely.

    • April 21, 2012 8:03 am

      Shelton, thank you so much for your feedback. I really appreciate your sharing your own experience, as well. I’m so looking forward to stopping by your blog and reading your work, as well. Many thanks.

  7. April 21, 2012 9:55 pm

    I have to agree with others, there is poetry here.
    I hope she finds what is right in herself. If she doesn’t see it, no one else will either.

    You showed her feelings of self very well.

    • April 22, 2012 6:34 pm

      Thank you, Renee. I so appreciate your having taken the time to “visit,” and I look forward to stopping by your blog as well. I’m challenged by finding this character’s authentic voice, so I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

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